Nostalgia: A Dialogue between Knowledge and Memory



This article describes the phenomenon of nostalgia as a special kind of emotional memory that allows a person to keep the illusion of continuity in a situation of dramatic life changes. Based on literature analysis and on psychotherapeutic work experience with immigrants from the former Soviet Union in the United States, the author shows that nostalgia may manifest in severe psychosomatic conditions, agitated depression, psychotic and dissociative symptoms. To better understand this phenomenon the author analyses «Home» as a personal geographic and culture-historic object that is located between the person and the environment. Based on the object relations theory author shows that in case of breach of such an intermediate space the meeting with novelty in the world leads to fear, while the inner experiences often cause the state of horror. Nostalgia in these conditions serves to: 1) re-establish connection with the lost; 2) reject the novelty of the world; 3) prevent new knowledge about oneself in the absence of familiar cultural landmarks.

General Information

Keywords: Nostalgia, Breach of Continuity of the Living World, Identity, Object Relations Theory, Psychosis, Dissociation

Journal rubric: Theory and Methodology

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Zinchenko A.V. Nostalgia: A Dialogue between Knowledge and Memory. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2009. Vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 77–85. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

A V. Zinchenko, PhD in Psychology, Psychologist, Private Practice,, USA



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